18 September 2002
Cabinet today received an interim report on investigations into pricing behaviour in the South African food and agricultural sector, dealing with such matters as maize futures contracts, degree of competitiveness in the food supply chain and consumer activism in our country.
The meeting in principle agreed that urgent steps needed to be considered to address the impact of food price inflation especially on poor households, without, however, seeking to meet short-term emergencies with short-term reactions. Because of the urgency of this matter, it was agreed that a detailed discussion on concrete recommendations would be held at the next Cabinet meeting.
Cabinet was briefed on on-going discussions in NEDLAC around the matter of pending labour action by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). Government wishes to reiterate its commitment to continuing engagement on the issues of restructuring of state assets, investment, job-creation and poverty eradication with all role players. These are issues that are on the agenda of the proposed Growth and Development Summit which is to be held in the new year and preparations for which have started.
The meeting received a formal report on the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and it reiterated government's appreciation, and that of President Thabo Mbeki in particular, of the manner in which all sectors of South African society joined hands to ensure that the Summit succeeds. Various government departments have been tasked to ensure follow up on the outcome of the Summit, so that South Africa plays its role as "custodian" of the Jo'burg Declaration and Plan of Action.
Cabinet was briefed on a thorough review of the Primary School Nutrition Programme and welcomed progress that has been made in ensuring food security among primary school children in poor communities. In order to further improve efficiency in the Programme, Cabinet decided as follows:
- the primary target of school feeding should also include Grade R learners in targeted primary schools;
- funding for the Programme should be increased annually in a phased manner to cover all areas in need, in accordance with standardised menu options;
- the programme should be transferred from the Department of Health to the Department of Education by April 2004 given the Programme's educational outcomes and the fact that the Department is functionally responsible for schools; and
- work should continue to improve the efficiency of the Programme, including standardised menu options and monitoring system as well as increased involvement of School Governing Bodies and women's groups.
Cabinet noted the work that has been done to address disasters that ravaged parts of the country during July and August. It approved, in principle, the provision of dedicated funds, including an Immediate Relief Fund (R12m), Fund for the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Municipal/Provincial Infrastructure (R100m) and an amount of R4m to assist farmers.
The meeting ratified the proclamation of a specific area adjacent to the Johannesburg International Airport as an Industrial Development Zone. The JIA-IDZ forms part of the policy to develop South Africa's manufacturing sector, unlock economic potential, leverage strategic investments and create employment.
The following Bills were approved for submission to Parliament:
- Amendments to the Usury Act which seeks to address the problem of unregistered micro-lenders that may be contravening provisions of the Usury Act;
- Judicial Matters Amendment Bill which contains ad hoc amendments to various relevant Acts;
- National Development Agency Amendment Bill dealing with number of Board members and other administrative issues.
Cabinet adopted a Protocol on Corporate Governance in the Public Sector which applies to State Owned Enterprises. This brings the 1997 Protocol in line with the 2002 King Report on Corporate Governance issued by the Institute of Directors as well as general international best practice.
Two Deputy Directors-General were appointed in the Department of Minerals and Energy.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)